Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai inaugurated the second phase of a tree plantation initiative in the city on Monday, part of ongoing efforts to combat winter pollution.
Rai stated that the goal for this fiscal year was to plant 52 lakh saplings, including shrubs. Already, 40 lakh saplings have been planted as part of the pollution reduction strategy for the summer season. The remaining 12 lakh saplings will be planted in the upcoming winter season, beginning at Garhi Mandu in northeast Delhi.
Rai expressed satisfaction with the New Delhi Municipal Council’s campaign to plant 50 lakh saplings, which he believes will significantly increase the city’s green cover.
He highlighted the positive impact of the government’s efforts, stating that Delhi’s green cover has increased from 20% to 23% during the tenure of the AAP government. This increase in greenery has led to an improvement in the city’s air quality.
In terms of air quality, Rai noted that Delhi has experienced 200 days of “good to moderate” air quality this year, a notable achievement when compared to previous years.
This statistic excludes 2020, which saw strict lockdown measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Comparatively, during the same period in 2022, 2021, and 2019, there were 154, 183, and 174 days of “good to moderate” air quality, respectively.
Rai emphasised that an Air Quality Index (AQI) between zero and 50 is classified as “good,” while 51 to 100 is “satisfactory,” 101 to 200 is “moderate,” 201 to 300 is “poor,” 301 to 400 is “very poor,” and 401 to 500 is “severe”. (With inputs from PTI)